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18/01/18
We were lucky enough to perform in the presence of Lady Diana on several occasions, most memorably at Althorp House on the occasion of her brother, Earl Spencer's 30th Birthday party. Security was tight as we arrived and our car was checked for explosives at the gate! There was much speculation as to whether she would be there night night, as this was during her period of 'withdrawal from public life'. As Alan and I set up the music stands in front of the fireplace facing the staircase, in the silence of the great entrance hall, we heard children laughing. Soon they came running into the hall, chased by Diana, wearing jeans and laughing with them - relaxed and happy at a very difficult time in her life.

Later on, the guests left dinner and made their way down the stairs towards the disco. We were playing as background music in the hall, but no-one went to the disco and everyone sat on the stairs listening to us and dancing until the early hours - a great compliment! Diana asked us to play 'In The Mood' and danced to it - later she asked us to play it again! Earl Spencer kindly arranged excellent meals and accommodation for the orchestra, which was much more than some very wealthy clients (who will remain nameless) have done!

The night that Diana died, we were performing at The Savoy Hotel as part of our six-year 'Stompin' at The Savoy' residency. We went to bed at 2am without listening to the news and only heard about it the next morning. We lived in Windsor then and the town was very affected by it - flowers soon covered a vast area in front of the castle - and we've never forgotten the almost total silence which pervaded the town on the day of her funeral.
Michael